Tianjin Saixiang Technology Co. Ltd. (TST), China’s trend-setting tire machinery maker, is fast moving ahead with clear plans of market expansion and a vision of building up Saixiang into a reputed brand of customer loyalty both domestically and internationally for the next five years. In an extensive interview to Rubber Asia, TST President Mr Zhang Xiaochen, the young and third generation leader of TST, provides some vital information about the company such as its origin, the salient features of its important radial tire building machinery, the company’s R&D spend and the R&D personnel, maintenance of high quality of the machinery & equipment, customer relationships and customer services etc.
President Mr Zhang Xiaochen says that the company will ever strive to become a leader in tire machinery manufacture in China while enhancing its influence across the world. EXCERPTS:

Please tell us about the Founder of TST and the background of its establishment.

TST, formerly known as “Tianjin Rubber & Plastic Machinery United Co. Ltd., was founded in 1989 by Zhang Zhiquan, a renowned equipment technology expert of a tire factory in Tianjin, China. In 1980’s, China was not capable of developing and manufacturing its own radial tire machinery. Thus, he travelled to the UK on behalf of the engineering deputy commander of Tianjin radial tire project and successfully managed to import the 1st PCR tire production line for China. He retired in September 1989, at the age of 62. After retirement, he ruthlessly rejected all the high-salary employment offers from many other firms, for fulfilling his own career dream. He determinedly pursued the ambitious task in his life – independently design and manufacture ‘Made In China’ Radial Tire Machinery, challenging the ‘Made in Europe or US’ machinery in order to essentially reduce the cost of production.

It was under such a circumstance, Tianjin Rubber & Plastic Machinery United Co. Ltd. (later known as TST) was founded.

What are TST’s trailblazing radial tire building machines & equipment?

Firstly, the TST tire machinery & equipment has covered over 20 series with hundreds of products for the majority of tire production procedures. Of these, the best-known product is our All-Steel TBR Tire Building Machine. TST’s first successful All-Steel TBR Tire Building Machine, launched in 1996, symbolized the most important breakthrough in the Chinese tire machinery industry as it essentially filled the vacuum of such a machine in the country.
The 2-Drum and 3-Drum All-Steel TBR Tire Building Machine (TBR TBM) is definitely a highly competitive product of TST and the occupancy rate of this machine is significantly high in the Chinese market (50% of the Chinese market). With the excellent Design Concept, Robustness, Flexibility and Precision of this machine, TST has raised the technological level of China-made machinery. After continuous technical updating, this product is capable of covering all the automation functions, including auto compound positioning, tracking, conveying (AGV technology), placing, centering, real time edge guiding and GT removing, and thus basically implementing full automation through entire tire production process.

Please explain briefly how do you maintain the high quality of the machinery & equipment?

No.1: Logically inspecting and verifying the technical proposal is our working principle instead of blindly pursuing “high-advance” technology.
No.2: TST has built up reliable, high-level manufacturing and production teams to look after everything of design, machining, assembling and the quality of key parts “under control”.
No.3: By strictly following the ISO 9001, ISO 3834, BV France, SGS standards and partially following AS 9100, we are able to ensure the most optimized QC effect. Additionally, the TOC (Theory of Constraints) is also applied in our design and production management for precisely controlling the punctual delivery of every order.
Finally, TST has built up a special after-sales team for looking after any issue or problem arising from clients while using our products and providing them the fastest response and maintenance.

Please tell us about the company’s R&D and the R&D personnel?

We pay the highest attention to invest in R&D, funding it with 8% of our total annual sales turnover. The R&D department is composed of TST Research Institute and TST Technical Center.
TST Research Institute is mainly responsible for new product and technology research and design, external research resource integration, project cooperation, the test of new products and their industrialization.
The main jobs of TST Technical Center include updating the designing of existing products, rendering before and after sale technical support for clients, IPR (intellectual property protection), collecting the technology information in the current market and its management.
The technical team personnel at TST make up over 30% of total staff. They are either graduated students from university or experienced technical personnel in related industries who are independently trained at TST to possibly take up posts at the core technical human resource or high management of the company.
Wise acquisition is another way of obtaining new technical teams. Nowadays, TST has opened its gate to all talented international experts and successful technical personnel for employment.

What about the quality certification won by TST?

We have won the ISO 9001 Quality system certification.

Please explain about TST’s customer relationship and customer services.

• Before accepting the order, our special team will supply the technical proposal or agreement based on varying customized machine functional requirement.
• In the process of customized designing, our technical team will keep communicating with the clients in order to learn their further demand and expectation of products.
• Before a machine’s delivery, the supervision of erection and commissioning is included in our service. According to the actual situation and status of client in site, a proper schedule will be scientifically prepared in association with clients for ensuring the final satisfying performance of the equipment.
• What is more, we have the policy of regularly tracking the running status of a delivered equipment and making the old machine functional with required updating or modification.

Could you tell us of the company’s turnover in the year 2016?

Currently, our sales cover countries such as France, German, Czech Republic, India, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam. In 2016, the total annual production in value terms was RMB 452,480,000 (Approx. USD 65,600,000). Over 54% of the total annual production (approx. USD 36,000,000) was exported.

Is there any plans for market expansion?

We have 2 major business sections: Tire Machinery and Aeronautics & Space Equipment. The expansion of business is mainly with regard to the supply of the AGV automatic logistics equipment and its solutions. Aeronautics & Space Equipment is mainly to supply the aircraft equipment for Airbus.

Please tell us of the TST’s future goal. How do you plan to achieve the goal?

For the next five years, we will continue to focus on the rubber machinery industry and key equipment manufacturing for radial tire as our core business and then move on towards the informational intellectual, and the flexible and unmanned tire equipment to make a full play of technical innovations. Continuous technical improvement, strict quality control and further optimized service system will continue be the areas of our most working attention. Our business running mode will be diversified with independent technical innovation and acquisition. At the same time, we will bring in a senior technical research expert from overseas to optimize our technical designing concepts based on the principle of “Precision”, “Robustness” and “Flexibility” with a view to improving our existing core products.
Meanwhile, we will keep consolidating TST’s brand advantage, building up Saixiang not only as the famous domestic brand of China but to turn it into an internationally recognized brand with excellent reputation and significant customer’s loyalty. We will try our level best to make our company a leader in tire machinery manufacture in China while enhancing its influence across the world.