Category: Changwon loving enterprise

Getting Out Of Town

If you have done some research on Changwon, you will have heard of Mageumsan Hot Springs. The distance may have frightened you, but let me assure you, a trip out to the hot springs is a trip worth taking, if not for the healthy baths, then perhaps for the views.


Mageumsan is located northwest of Changwon in an area call Bukmyeon (pronounced with a silent ‘k’). The area is really beautiful and completely unlike Changwon, Masan and Jinhae. It has many rice fields, lots of farms and small village areas that dot the green landscape. Follow the brown signs in near the Changwon Train station. Once you head out of the north part of Changwon, and get over the mountains, you will feel calm.


The Hot Springs themselves are not unlike more Jimjjilbangs in Changwon or Korea. The difference is in the water, which comes from the nearby mountain, which is named Mageum Mountain. This water contains 20 different minerals such as Iron, Calcium, and Radium. These minerals have different healing property, according to the regional information provided.


When you arrive at the hot springs area, you can also enjoy some local specialties. There is a peanut tofu restaurant, lots of vendors selling homemade drinks and eats, and up behind the hot springs, there is a cool looking bridge to walk across.

If you can travel by bike, car or scooter, there are so many small areas along the river to explore. It is amazing how close to bustling Changwon this unique area is.


You can get to the hot springs by bus. Below is a link for which buses to take. Move the red flag to you for a more personalized description. Bus number 10 is the fastest bus, but from City Hall in Changwon it takes 1 hour 12 minutes. Also be aware that the bus only comes every 45 minutes to an hour.

/Posted by Heather Henrichs, Changwon Reporter Blogger


Gukhwa(국화) tea eases stress, clears mind

“Gukhwa(국화) tea or chrysanthemum flower tea eases stress and clears your mind. It also has medical effect of protecting liver cells.”   Guksim(국심) Co. has an in-house team, exclusive for growing chrysanthemum for commercial use. The company is the second biggest among the seven Korean chrysanthemum tea manufacturers in terms of sales, but it is confident that its tea is of top quality.

Its scent and taste outshine others, as the chrysanthemum flower grown there is of higher quality. The natural environment in Masan(마산) is ideal for growing the wild flower as there are many days of sunshine and less fog with breeze always blowing from the sea at higher temperatures compared to other regions.

With chrysanthemum tea as the main product, Guksim also produces chrysanthemum flower-fermented makgeolli(막걸리), or rice wine, and gukhwa-scented beauty products such as shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Gukhwa tea is produced from frosty late October until early November, when flowers are picked by hands, dried, made clean, ground and then packed as final product. In particular, Gukhwa-fermented makgeolli under application for patent is very popular with some 20,000 bottles sold during a chrysanthemum festival period last month.

Jeon Gye-shik, CEO if Guksim Co., shows dried flowers of chrysanthemum.
Jeon Gye-shik, CEO if Guksim Co., shows dried flowers of chrysanthemum.

Almost every product from Guksim has already been patented or patent-pending. Guksim has four patents, including the technology for compounds helping to protect liver cells, with three patents under review.

Its research institute has proceeded to develop new products with chrysanthemum flowers. They are putting final touches on the gukhwa-fermented light beverage after two years of R&D spending. The product will be released in spring next year.   “My long relationship with chrysanthemum led me into this business,” Jeon said.

Jeon graduated from the Junior College of Agriculture affiliated with the Rural Development Administration and worked at the Masan Agricultural Technology Center for 29 years. He set up a plan to host the chrysanthemum festival first and tried hard to gain knowledge about chrysanthemum drinks.

Masan(마산) was the first region to grow chrysanthemum and attracts about 1 million tourists to the chrysanthemum festival every year. However, he regretted that there were no tourist attractions of its own and jumped into the business, abandoning the public service job.

He has set up a long-term plan to turn Jinbuk-myeon(진북면), where there are many chrysanthemum farming households, into a chrysanthemum cluster.   “There is good natural environment such as Mt. Seobuk, a reservoir and a cypress forest suitable for chrysanthemum farming in Geumsan-ri(금산리), Jinbuk-myeon(진북면),” said Jeon.   “I will build a chrysanthemum cluster encompassing a spa, restaurants and a museum as well as make an edible chrysanthemum farming complex here.”   He said he will make further efforts to realize his dream towards annual output of 5 billion won within three years.

Hana Electronics armed with high-tech equipment

By Choi Sang-moon Chief executive officer of Hana Electronics

“Who will help me if I do nothing in difficult times? We have to make more efforts to invest and find new markets when things get more difficult,” said Choi Sang-moon, chief executive officer of Hana Electronics, in a deep low tone.
The printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturer built a new plant with floor space of 4,300 square meters in Daesan-myeon, Uichang-gu, last month. The component maker has moved its headquarters to this location from a facility in Gimhae, east of Changwon, which will continue to manufacture the PCB.
Experts have predicted that the electronics industry will continue to be sluggish since last year. Orders have shrunk considerably this year compared to last year. However, Choi has bought high-tech machinery for the new plant at a cost of 6 billion won.
Hana has been doing surface mounting, a method for constructing electronic circuits in which the components are mounted directly onto the surface of PCBs. In the past, components were fitted onto the board and every part was welded but the technology has made huge developments.

Most of the production lines have been automated as PCBs have become smaller and smaller while highly integrated on both sides. Hana has been operating seven of the latest automated production lines.
The company supplies PCBs to large electronics makers as a major component for washing machines.
“Once a month, home appliance makers demand a speedy supply of our products. At that time, we have to meet urgent requirements,” said Choi. “We are confident in our productivity and quality compared to other firms as we have up-to-date equipment and a skilled workforce.”
Recently, Hana has also been building assembly lines separately from the production of PCBs. These are used to add larger components to the initial boards through surface mounting. Hana is determined to expand its markets to medical equipment, the automobile sector, high-tech products and PCBs for industrial purposes.

Choi said that his company will employ an additional 40 to 50 workers during the fourth quarter of the year to operate the new production lines at full swing.
The firm is preparing to open a technology research center, following the introduction of new production lines. Hana has secured highly-skilled workers in cooperation with several colleges.
“Hana Electronics’ slogan is let’s work in a sure, correct and responsible manner. I believe that we have grown in this way as we have worked diligently despite being a latecomer in the industry. We will all work diligently until we become the best,” said Choi.
Hana aims to produce 50 billion won in output in three years, developing its export market with top quality goods.

Hyundai Wisco : Korea’s largest forging company

Hyundai Wisco, which started as a joint venture between Korea and Japan in Changwon in October 1974, is the nation’s largest company that specializes in forging into auto part products. Since its foundation, the company has concentrated on forging, processing and assembling basic parts and components of automobiles for 38 years, growing into a most specialized car parts maker true to its name. Armed with the nation’s best technology and largest facilities, the company is awash with orders placed by carmakers not only at home but also from abroad, which have firm trust in the excellent quality of Hyundai Wisco products.    
The company, which takes great pride in its state-of-the-art facility, superb technology and efficiently-arranged manufacturing environment comparable to best forging companies in the world, has long become the fieldtrip destination and benchmarking model of both local and foreign car parts makers
The company underwent tough times when dealing with creditors, but normalized its management soon by becoming a member of Hyundai Motor Group in 2001 and has never looked back since. While focusing on the specialized production of forged car parts, often called the light and salt of the motor industry, the company has established an integrated production system of processing and assembling engine and transmission parts and is transforming itself into a global auto parts maker.

This is an overview of Hyundai Wisco, Korea’s largest and most specialized auto parts maker by forging, headquartered at the Changwon Industrial Complex in South Gyeongsang Province.

▶ Zero defect
Quality is the life of automobiles. The quality mindsets of Hyundai Wisco employees, who inject their souls and spirits into each and every auto part they make, lie with their craftsmanship. The company’s employees work with the recognition that “I produce parts and components for the cars that carry my family, my neighbors and myself” which leads to strong pride and passion for their products to establish the company’s “quality-first” tradition. Starting with the acquisition of the 100 ppm (parts per million) quality management certificate in 1997, Hyundai Wisco continued to win QS9000 in 1999, ISO 14001 environmental management certificate in 2003, and TS16949 quality management certificate in 2005. Now, the company has shifted to a quality management system, making all stages ranging from design and manufacture to marketing transparent to establish substantive guarantee system, and going all out to keep realizing customer-oriented management with top-quality products. Instead of remaining content with the present quality level, the company is also conducting the “WQ-250” campaign aimed at reducing clients’ claims by 50 percent in two years.

CEO Bae In-kyu vows to model a company that makes it possible for its employees to realize their dreams.

▶ Emerges as environment-friendly company with technology to reduce weights of car parts
The biggest concern of today’s auto engineering is how to reduce or eliminate NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) occurring in engines, suspensions and chassis. To improve NVH problems, Hyundai Wisco has been pushing for lightening its parts and components, and, as part of such efforts, the company upgraded its forging technology for crank shafts and started mass production in the latter half of 2011. To further reduce the weight of motor vehicles, the company is also stepping up efforts to develop technology that can be applied to aluminum forging technology for arms, links and wheels.
▶ Model company with labor stability that has had no strikes for the past 26 years
The company’s strong performance amid increasingly fierce global competition and worldwide economic recession can also be attributed to its exemplary labor-management relationship that has experienced no labor turmoil since its labor union was organized 26 years ago. It was selected as the “Outstanding Company in Labor-Management Culture in 2012,” by the Busan Office for Employment and Labor. 

Employees work on the different assembly lines, which can simultaneously produce parts for various auto models.

PK Valve – history of industrial valves

Starting out as an individual enterprise named Pusan Pogeum Industry in 1946, PK Valve is the first Korean company that made and supplied valves. “Pogeum” means gun metal, which was used for making cannons at first and for producing industrial parts such as valves and gears later.
As its company name indicates, PK Valve represents the nation’s history of the valve industry. Since it took up the current location as the “first” company that moved into the Changwon Industrial Complex in 1974, PK Valve has begun to produce heavy, thick, long and large industrial valves in earnest.
In 1980, the company became the nation’s first to develop ultra-low temperature valve used for LNG plants, and set up technology research center and material R&D institute in 1994 and 2011, respectively, also for the first time in Korea.

PK Valve, a global industrial value maker, is also the first company that moved into the Changwon Industrial Complex in 1974.

PK Valve has produced and supplied more than 30 million valves during the past 60 years or so, and possesses more than 20,000 valve models. The company’s ideal combination of plentiful experience, skilled manpower and systemized know-how has enabled it to produce and supply a 76-inch gate valve in 2007, the biggest size in the world at the time.

Researchers discuss the quality of completed gate valve in front of the in-house R&D center.

In 2011, PK Valve broke its own record by manufacturing an 88-inch gate valve to be used for Dahei Petrochemical Plant in India, receiving orders from Samsung Engineering. In a word, this company has monopolized all superlative modifiers of the first, the best and the largest in the domestic value industry. 

In 2011, PK Valve broke its own record by manufacturing an 88-inch gate valve to be used for Dahei Petrochemical Plant in India, receiving orders from Samsung Engineering. In a word, this company has monopolized all superlative modifiers of the first, the best and the largest in the domestic value industry.  
Despite its reputation as an industrial valve maker that represents Korea, the company also underwent a crisis when it was placed under a court receivership for 13 long years starting in 1985. Armed with an unrivaled technology in the nation, however, PK Valve could get out of bankruptcy protection at the height of the Asian financial crisis in 1998, when many other companies were busy requesting court-ordered management.

CEO Park Hern-gun, who took office in 2003, has never been negligent in making investment into equipment even amid tight financial situations. So he installed an electric furnace at a cost of more than 1 billion won, purchased land to build a second plant in neighboring Haman Industrial Park, and established the material R&D institute, creating foundation for sustainable growth.

CEO Park Hern-gun poses in front of one of his company’s products.

Such endeavors have led to improved corporate performance of PK Valve, which saw it sales and operating profits swell to 104.5 billion won and 24.8 billion, respectively, in 2009, compared with corresponding figures of 44.2 billion won and 1.1 billion won in 2003. The debt-to-equity ratio also plunged from 1,072 percent to 29.6 percent over the period. The company expects to record more than 160 billion won in sales, the highest ever since its foundation. 
The biggest change under CEO Park’s leadership was he turned PK Valve into a globalized company. In a bold departure from the decades-long business practice of “OEM + brand parallel operation system,” the company has been supplying its products only under its own “PK” brand since 2003, and changed its corporate name to “PK Valve,” in 2006.

A company engineer gives a final touch to an industrial valve.

Currently, PK Valve has maintained partnership not only with the domestic firms, including Samsung Engineering, Doosan Heavy Industries and Korea Gas, but also with global majors such as BP and Exxon Mobil and is registered as a qualified supplier to these companies.
PK Valve is now supplying products to more than 70 construction sites, including the Qatar Gas II project, the world’s largest LNG producing base, and has emerged as the world’s No. 5 industrial valve maker in terms of sales, not to mention Korea’s No. 1.

S&T Dynamics’ take-off as a global maker

Visitors view S&T Dynamics’ booth during the International Manufacturing Technology Show 2012 in Chicago.

Since its establishment in 1959, S&T Dynamics has served as the front-runner of Korea’s precision machinery industry by providing highly-reliable defense industry goods, superior-quality powertrains for commercial vehicle, hyper-precision machine tool and mid- to large-sized casting products and taking the lead in the industry’s development. S&T Dynamic’s predecessor, Tongil Heavy Industry, was in danger of bankruptcy in 1998, but overcame the crisis through a successful merger and acquisition to normalize management in 2003.    
Based on the founding spirit of “patriotic service through technology” advocated by S&T Group Chairman Choi Pyeong-kyu, the company’s management turned around to a black ink in 2004 right after the M&A, and has recorded profits for seven years in a row until 2010. Its debt-to-equity ratio also plunged from a hefty 1,927 percent in 2002 to 54.5 percent as of last yearend. Starting in August 2010, the company has realized management without borrowing, succeeding in the establishment of stable financial structure, too.     
As the nation’s only specialized maker of powertrains for the defense industry and heavy firearms, S&T Dynamics has been developing and supplying highly-reliable defense industry goods since it was designated as a national defense firm in 1973. Particularly, the 1,500-horsepower, six-gear automatic transmission for K2 Tanks developed independently by S&T Dynamics is a masterpiece weapon highlighting the world-class technology of S&T Dynamics who has enjoyed the status of originator of defense industry for the past 40 years. Also, the company’s automatic artillery system, ranging from 12.7-mm K6 heavy machine guns to the main armament of 40-mm K21 armored combat vehicle, have been enhancing their brand values in global defense good markets because of their high firing and accuracy rates and easy operability. 

S&T Dynamics’ independent suspension axle enjoys global reputation in competiveness.

S&T Dynamic’s commercial powertrain business, on the basis of “3-3-3 global matrix” marketing strategy, is expanding its share in the three major commercial vehicle markets of the world. The company has made successful advances in North America, Europe and Asia, the three global markets of Daimler Benz Truck, the world’s No 1 maker of commercial vehicles. It is also expanding order receipts from such global makers as John Deere of the United States, MAN of Germany and Mitsubishi Fuso of Japan. In addition, the company is developing up-to-second commercial vehicles, such as environment-friendly powertrains, multi-stage gearboxes and axles for large trucks, and independent suspension axles for specialty vehicles, firming up its global reputation as a specialized powertrain maker. 

This is ST-25/35 vertical CNC lathe, one of the machine tools of highest demand.

S&T Dynamics is “Korea’s powerhouse of machine tool” true to its name. Since it was designated as the all-round and specialized maker of machine tools, the company has developed state-of-the-art machine tool products to take the lead in the domestic machine tool industry by, for instance, independently developing CNC machining center in 1979, and localizing CNC controller in 1987 for the first time in the nation. Particularly, super-size CNC vertical lathe and hyper-size, environment-friendly machine tool such as SGM-3500 gear-cutting machine have been solidifying their brand creditworthiness because of their high performance and reliability.

S&T Dynamics’ independent suspension axle enjoys global reputation in competiveness.

 Besides, the company is stepping up efforts to develop future growth engines for sustainable growth in the 2010s, in such new frontiers as environment-friendly wind-power powertrains and titanium tubes. Especially, wind-power powertrain sector is S&T Dynamics’ next-generation mainstay business promoted through the fusion and combination of the company leading-edge core technology in powertrains. For this, the company has already finished detailed designing and turned out a mock-up. S&T Dynamics plans to win international certification by the end of this year and begin to supply its mid- to large-sized wind-power powertrains to the domestic and foreign wind power plants one after another.

Hyundai BNG Steel ever-growing on clients’ trust

The nation’s first maker of stainless cold-rolled steel plates

Hyundai BNG Steel dates back to 1966 when Samyang Special Steel Co., Ltd., started to produce 30,000 tons of stainless cold-rolled steel plates a year. Samyang took over Korea Special Steel Co. from  Sammi Specialty Steel in 1974. One year later, Samyang and Korea Special Steel merged into KISCO, which was incorporated into the Hyundai Motor Group in 2002 with the new name of BNG Steel.

The manufacturer is preparing another take-off to be reborn to match the status of the business group’s global position, after being renamed in 2011.

Hyundai BNG Steel, which has sought diverse products of high quality by continuously investing in facilities and technology development, was the first to develop bright annealing (BA) products and embossed plates in Korea. It built a plant of a rolling mill capable of producing plates that are 0.01mm thick and of a sheet rolling mill producing ultra-thin BA plates of 0.03 mm in thickness in 2010. These experiences have made it possible for Hyundai to possess all necessary production skills ranging from precision electronic parts to industrial facilities.

“Prosperity with clients, bright future with the company”

Hyundai BNG Steel has set up its vision of “happiness with clients, future with the company” with an aim of sustainable management through maximized value for clients and environment-friendly “green management.” Hyundai has been making double efforts to be reborn as environment-friendly business, achieving harmony among human beings, technology and nature.
Such vision has well been reflected in the name of the corporation BNG of Hyundai BNG Steel, “Belief & Growth,” containing its determination to grow based on clients’ trust.

With the aim of stabilized quality and efficient management, Hyundai BNG Steel advanced the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, an integration of internal and external management information across an entire organization in 2011. Hyundai has been making every effort to achieve a 50 percent growth in both turnover and profits by 2016, the 50th founding anniversary, with the campaign slogan of “Renovation & Takeoff 5050.”

Frontal night view of Hyundai BNG Steel plant

Growth base on cooperative advanced labor-management relations

Hyundai BNG, which introduced three levels of workers in 2007, reclassified them into five _ part manager (PM), expert (EP), specialist (SP), technician (TE) and rookie workers — to enhance the treatment of experts and skilled workers.

Besides these, the company has provided a variety of welfare benefits, probably the highest level in the industry, to employees to instill pride in them and encourage them to remain committed. The welfare benefits include financial support to those moving to houses offered by the company, full scholarship for up to three children of workers, and financial support for automobile and medical services. In particular, some 30 model workers selected every year are given opportunities to tour foreign steel makers in China, Japan and other countries.

Such corporate efforts have resulted in an advanced labor-management culture of no labor strikes for the past 11 years. Hyundai has become a model of other corporations, as it was selected as one of the best companies in labor-management culture in 2010, following a same recognition in 2006.

Stainless steel rolls manufactured at Hyundai BNG Steel plant in Changwon

Friendly with regional residents

Hyundai BNG Steel marks its 36th anniversary since it opened a general specialty steel plant in Changwon, in 1975. It also moved its main office to Changwon from Seoul in 2001.

Hyundai workers have great affection for Changwon, the capital of South Gyeongsang Province.

Currently, six volunteer corps are active, including in-house and family volunteer groups. The volunteers have continued to contribute to the regional society, offering a variety of services, such as home repairs for one senior citizens living alone and low-income households, provision of daily necessities to bread earning children and needy households, distribution of coal briquettes and rice to needy households. As a result, Hyudai has been recognized as a model contributor to the regional community in Changwon.

An engineer conducts a close inspection stainless steel plates at a Hyundai BNG Steel plant in Changwon.