Collaboration between multiple sites to provide our customers total support from product development to mass production

Asahi Kasei supports challenges at Giken Sakata (S) Limited


Giken Sakata Asahi Kasei Interview


Asahi Kasei supports challenges at Giken Sakata (S) Limited Collaboration between multiple sites to provide our customers total support from product development to mass production

In rapidly developing nations like Indonesia and India, where severe traffic congestion has become a serious social issue, motorcycles are an essential part of daily life. With the need to become carbon neutral, manufacturers are stepping up efforts to make motorcycles electric. Singapore-based manufacturer Giken Sakata (S) Limited manufactures electric motorcycles, mainly targeting the Southeast Asian market. The Iso UNO-X is the first electric motorcycle produced by subsidiary Giken Mobility. It is made using  Asahi Kasei’s XYRON™ modified PPE resin and LEONA™ polyamide resin.

Yeung Kin Bond, Sydney, Executive Chairman of Giken Sakata (S) Limited and Natarajan (Raj) Srinivasan from Giken Renewable Energy Solutions Pte Ltd(subsidiary of Giken Sakata (S) Limited and both companies are part of the Giken Group) told us about the Giken Sakata (S) Limited Group’s business, how the Iso UNO-X was developed, and Asahi Kasei’s involvement.  Masato Sone and Christopher Ong of Asahi Kasei Plastics Singapore(APS) , who supported the Iso UNO-X project behind the scenes, also talked about the experience of working with the Giken Group.

Techniques and ideas passed on from an expert in precision shaft manufacturing

技研サカタシンガポール会長 Yeung Kin Bond, Sydney氏Yeung Kin Bond, Sydney, Executive Chairman of Giken Sakata (S) Limited

―― Tell us about Giken Sakata (S) Limited.

YeungGiken Sakata (S) Limited  is a manufacturer of precision engineering products & parts, founded in 1979. We are a wholly owned subsidiary of GSS Energy, a company listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX). Our business activities include plastic injection molding, PCB assembly, design and fabrication of precision shafts, and assembly of finished products. Giken Sakata has its roots in Japan. It was founded by Mr S. Yokota, with the headquarters in Japan before it was relocated to Singapore in 1992. We currently have a total of over 2,000 employees, with facilities in Indonesia and China as well as Singapore. It also has a development centre in Thailand.

The founder of Giken Sakata (S) Limited, Mr. Sakae Yokota,  was in his fifties when he started the company, and today, he is 95 years old. He retired from the Company when he was 78 years old. Every time when I am in Japan,  I will meet up with Mr. Yokota. I still benefit from his insights & advice. Going forward, we will continue to value the manufacturing technology built by expertise in precision engineering, as well as the commitment to “always provide our customers and partners with the best products and technology.”

For many years, our main business has been OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturing) manufacturing precision shafts and other products. In 2019 we have started working on ODM (Original Design Manufacturing) projects. One of our main target areas for ODM is electric vehicles (EV). The project by Giken Mobility Pte Ltd (wholly owned subsidiary of Giken Sakata (S) Ltd) and the development of the Iso UNO-X are part of this.

――What kind of product is the Iso UNO-X?

Yeung:The Iso UNO-X is Giken Mobility’s first electric motorcycle model, produced under the Iso Motorcycles brand. It has a range of 92 km (WMTC), although we have noticed over 130km with constant speed of 45kmph in real world conditions, an electric motor with a peak power of 11 hp (8.5 kW), and rapid acceleration from 0 to 50 km/h in under 4 seconds. It has initially been launched in Hong Kong, and will be rolled out to other countries. Thailand will be next. We also plan to expand to Indonesia, the largest market in the ASEAN region.

The electric motorcycle "Iso UNO-X"The electric motorcycle "Iso UNO-X"

―― Why did you choose the theme of electric motorcycles?

Yeung:For a while now, we have been proactively working to address educational inequality, mobility and the digital divide in South-East Asia, where population poverty is an increasing issue. Motorcycles are more than a convenient mode of transport for everyday life; they are an important way for people to get out of poverty, enhancing educational and employment opportunities. We believe we can leverage our strengths and make a contribution to society by producing high-quality electric motorcycles at affordable prices.

Working together with Asahi Kasei

Yeung:When developing the Iso UNO-X, safety was our top priority, so we focused on using high-quality components. The casings protecting the battery and motor are extremely important to maximize safety in all situations. We used Asahi Kasei’s XYRON™  for the battery case, as it offers excellent electrical insulation and flame retardance. The Iso UNO-X also has a liquid-cooled motor case. The housing is made from LEONA™, which provides the necessary water-resistance and other requirements.

LIB(Lithium Ion Battery)cover“XYRON™ 443Z” for lithium-ion battery (LIB) covers

Motor coverLEONA™ 53G33 for motor covers

Sone:Asahi Kasei Plastics Singapore(APS)was established in 2002 as a global base for production of PPE, the base resin of XYRON™. These days, we have a wide range of responsibilities, from compounding of Asahi Kasei’s three major brands of engineering plastics- XYRON™LEONA™ and TENAC™ - to sales, technical support and R&D in the ASEAN/India region. Aside from Singapore, we also have engineering plastics compounding, sales and technical support facilities in Thailand( Asahikasei Plastics Thailand(APT), marketing offices in Indonesia and India, and our Vietnam site(Asahi Kasei Plastics Vietnam(APV))specializing in CAE, all working together on a daily basis.

Our mission at APS is to “tackle social issues and help to improve people’s lives in the ASEAN/India region.” We aim to become a valuable “solution provider” in the expanding electric motorcycle market. Our everyday work is underpinned by a desire to be recognized as a good business partner, building an environment to continuously create products together with our customers. We have built up that kind of relationship with Giken Sakata (S) Limited. We are now working together on product development, aiming to expand the electric motorcycle business in the ASEAN/India region.

Asahi Kasei Plastics Singaporeの曽根 正人(左)とChristopher Ong(右)Masato Sone (left) and Christopher Ong (right) of Asahi Kasei Plastics Singapore

―― How did Giken Sakata (S) Limited and APS work together on this development project?

Sone:During the development process, APT members in Thailand first collaborated in the development of LIB packs and motor housings. After that APS joined the project, and now Giken Sakata Singapore, APT, and APS are working together on the project. APS has been communicating with Raj and other people at Giken Sakata (S) Limited. On our side, Chris acted as the hub coordinating the different teams within Asahi Kasei, proposing engineering plastics products, providing technical support,  plastics CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) simulation , and so on.

Raj:We do business with many companies and take on difficult challenges. We often consult Chris and his team or go to them for advice, and we can always rely on them.

Chris: I’ve been working with Raj since around 2020. We have built up a close relationship of trust.

Giken Renewable Energy Solutions Raj Srinivasan氏Giken Renewable Energy Solutions Raj Srinivasan氏

―― Were there any challenges in the development with Giken Sakata (S) Limited?

Raj:It was a challenge for the engineers in my design and development department to learn about the properties and processing of plastics. They were experts in electronics and software, so it was hard for me to clearly and accurately explain the details of parts design and molding using plastics. During the design stage at the start of development, Asahi Kasei supported us by sharing materials data and insights about design using plastics with us. When we reached the prototype phase, they supported us with  plastics CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) simulation. Performing highly accurate CAE simulations before making prototypes sped up the product development process.

Chris:We spent a lot of time on verification with plastics CAE. In discussion with Raj, we set various constraints and performed CAE simulations to explore design ideas. For example, the battery pack that Raj and his team were developing had to undergo a rigorous certification process, so safety testing was particularly important. That’s where plastics CAE simulation came in useful.

Raj:The battery pack reaches high temperatures during strenuous operations especially when it is hot outside, as it tends to get in Southeast Asian countries. This heat significantly affects the performance of the vehicle, and can cause failure. Actually, in previous designs, I thought we could simply use lots of metal components with good heat dissipation properties, and dissipate heat that way. But that would have made the product very heavy. Chris advised replacing some of these components with plastic, and that’s what led us to start working together to investigate the feasibility of components made from plastic. In this process, we are mainly talking to Chris from APS, but we are also grateful for the support from Asahi Kasei Plastics Vietnam for the plastics CAE simulation, and Asahi Kasei Plastics Thailand for support at the actual product stage.

―― What do you think of the benefits of using CAE?

Raj:Plastics CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) simulation is vital in product development, to minimize the time and cost of the design, prototype and evaluation process. In particular, ensuring safety is absolutely vital for the battery pack of an EV, because people’s lives are involved. If it required more evaluation using actual products, the product would never reach the market in time, however much money and time you had. 

――What are the strengths of CAE simulation by Asahi Kasei?

Chris:As experts in the properties of plastic materials and injection molding technology, we have acquired our own unique material property data and technical information.

Raj:The accuracy of Asahi Kasei’s simulation was incredible. This allowed us to fully investigate the proposed design, so we only needed to make slight modifications at the actual prototype stage.

Future plans

―― Will Giken Sakata (S) Limited launch more own-brand products like the Iso UNO-X?

Yeung:At the very least, we now want to do business with like-minded companies that already have their own brands. Realistically speaking, it will take a bit more time for us as a company to transition from OEM to ODM. At the end of the day, our greatest strength is our expertise in manufacturing precision parts and machines, cultivated over for 40 years. We can provide all kinds of products from precision shafts to PCB to batteries for EVs, and beyond.

The global market for electric vehicles will continue to expand. I hope the battery packs that we develop will be widely used for EVs and even in other areas, helping to tackle social issues, creating a carbon neutral future, and contributing to economic development.   At Giken Sakata (S) Limited, when working in new business areas like EVs, rather than trying to do everything ourselves, we focus on finding like-minded business partners. We want to build deep relationships with companies like Asahi Kasei who share the same vision, working in partnership to address challenges and create solutions together.

Giken Sakata Asahi Kasei

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UD Tape

UD tape is a uni-directional carbon fiber-reinforced composite tape with superior strength and rigidity that expands the possibilities of metal replacement.

LEONA™ polyamide resin

LEONA™ has excellent heat resistance, strength and toughness, insulation, and oil resistance. It is widely used in automotive parts, electrical and electronic parts.