As the fastest-growing car brand in Australia, Hyundai is a familiar face on Australian roads. However the manufacturing process from mine
to motorway is not as widely known.
The process actually starts in Australia, making the nation a fundamental player on the global automotive landscape and an important trade and business partner for Hyundai Motor Company.
Hyundai’s automotive manufacturing process begins with the mining of raw materials that are sourced from Australia through a deal that represents a significant commitment to the local mining industry and provides a welcome boost to the economy.
Extracting raw materials in Australia
The Pilbara region in north-west Western Australia houses one of the world’s richest and largest iron ore deposits, and it is where Hyundai commences its journey from mine to motorway.
The Rio Tinto mine in the Pilbara operates 24/7, 365 days a year, extracting vast amounts of raw materials from the earth. Each day, 100,000 tonnes of iron ore is blasted, crushed and loaded onto coal carrying trains and hauled by rail to the coast to be loaded aboard massive ships that plough through the seas on the ensuing two-week ocean journey. About 13 vessels, each laden with 200,000 tonnes of raw iron ore, depart the port in the Pilbara each year bound for Hyundai Steel in Korea.
Other mining operations in Australia, including Newcastle on the mid-north coast of New South Wales and Mackay in Far North Queensland, also contribute to the export of raw materials to Hyundai Steel.
Steel mill in Korea
Hyundai operates its own steel blast furnace and milling facility. This not only provides cost efficiencies, but also provides total control of the quality and manufacture process throughout the entire life cycle.
The steel mill, located in Danjin, Korea is part of the strategy for Hyundai Motor Company to become the world’s first fully integrated automotive manufacturing operation globally. It gives the company a competitive edge by securing and developing their own supply of high-quality steel.
Currently the facility receives around 60 per cent (8.2 million tonnes) of the iron ore and 65 per cent (4.2 million tonnes) of the coking coal which Hyundai Steel requires from Australia, making Australia Hyundai Steel’s biggest single supplier of raw materials.
Once the iron ore is offloaded at Danjin port in Korea, it is moved by conveyor belt directly into massive domed storage units on-site. This is a seamless and highly efficient operation with intelligent mechanisation in place to minimise wastage of materials, resources and manpower.
From storage it is straight into the blast furnace process, where the raw materials are turned into steel. After emerging from giant ovens, the 25-tonne blocks of steel with a temperature of over 1000 degrees Celsius are pressed into sheets of steel ready for the stamping procedure. This process presses the steel and shapes them into car bodies and panels ready for assembly.
Final stage of production
As Hyundai Motor Company’s main production facility, the Ulsan plant sits on a 5,050,000 m2 site and is equipped with five independent plants that employ over 34,000 personnel to produce an average of 5400 vehicles a day.
The Ulsan plant, also dubbed the ‘Forest Plant’, encompasses 580,000 trees as part of its landscape and state-of-the-art facilities, reinforcing Hyundai’s commitment to a greener future in both manufacture practice and with their products.
The panels take form as they move through the final vehicle assembly process, and the iron ore and coking coal becomes the vessel, which contains the innovation and ingenuity of a global team of researchers, designers, and engineers.
Once complete and passing through rigid quality-control checks, the cars roll off the production lines, filling vast portside car parks before being loaded into the bellies of the transport carriers awaiting their cargo.
The final stage is the return to Australia. With the vehicles locked down and loaded on board the massive specialist car carrying ships, the final two week journey by sea commences. In fact, the circle of life from mine to motorway is surprisingly only about six to eight weeks in total.
“The ongoing contract for supply of iron ore and coking coal provides employment and commercial opportunities for Australians not only in the mines, but in the towns and infrastructure needed to support these massive operations”
Relationship between Australia and Korea
The benefits are not limited to raw material trade between Australia and Hyundai, they are far broader reaching. The ongoing contract for supply of iron ore and coking coal provides employment and commercial opportunities for Australians not only in the mines, but in the towns and infrastructure needed to support these massive operations. The national Hyundai dealer network provides a range of employment opportunities across the country in over 140 dealerships, in functions such as sales, service and parts and customer service.
Hyundai’s ‘New Thinking. New Possibilities’ aims to provide customers with emotional value and experiences beyond expectation to manufacture vehicles which ensure customers core needs are fulfilled at an accessible price and cars that reflects their values and the times in which they live.
Australian Hyundai owners drive cars that deliver innovation, quality and safety while using the finest quality raw materials to ensure product integrity.
Korea and Australia have long been good friends and trading partners. Through this relationship, Hyundai Motor Company’s trade with Australia is a strong statement of confidence in the country’s export efforts and its ability to meet the demanding and ever growing needs of the global automotive industry.
Hyundai is not just a company that makes cars. Hyundai is a company that creates new possibilities.